TV Review: THE MANDALORIAN: Season 2, Episode 3: The Heiress [Disney+]

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Disney+‘s The Mandalorian: Season 2, Episode 3: The Heiress TV Show Review. As stated in the season one finale, the Mandolorian’s initial mission was to find his people, while also trying to deliver the child to his own kind. This episode partially fulfills the first part of this quest in Mando (voiced by Pedro Pascal) encountering his fellow Mandolorians,  but it adds an intriguing twist, one that unfortunately is only touched upon briefly, before segueing into another action mission, one that is fun and exciting, but raises more questions than answers.

But first the escort mission needs to be completed. After a tense cold open  of the Razorcrest attempting to land ( “Brace yourselves, it might get a little choppy” Mando warns Frog Lady and the Child), which ends on a comedic note with the ship side-turning into the waters of Trask (complete with a reaction shot of a Mon Calamari repairman shaking its head and turning away), Frog Lady is finally reunited with her husband. The reunion is sweet, with Ludwig Göransson’s score providing a lush, romantic motif as they hug deeply. Grateful for bringing his wife and his brood (mostly) intact, the Frog Man directs Mando to a tavern, and after a cute moment where he chastises the Child for playing with the octopus in its chowder, agrees to accompany a Quarren trawling vessel to seek out fellow Mandolorians.

As the main theme twinkles during negotiations, and bombastically rises with the following cut to an establishing shot of the trawler cutting through the water and the fog,  it initially seems like this episode might be a fun, swashbuckling adventure for Mando and the child, filled with sea battles, monsters, and pirates galore. Unfortunately, unlike the Tusken Raiders from the season premiere, the episode doesn’t provide a positive rehabilitation image campaign for the Quarren or “squidhead” species (whose first appearance came in the form of Tessek, a guard for Jabba the Hutt in Return of The Jedi): after capturing a Mamagore sea beast, the captain betrays the pair by feeding the Child to it, and Mando dives in for desperate rescue. The POV shots of the Quarren stabbing with their spears  at Mando as he struggles to stay afloat (they naturally want his precious beskar armor) really help to bring a sense of drowning and dread to Mando’s fate.

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Naturally, that is the perfect cue for the cavalry to arrive, as the Mandalorians he has been searching for jetpack in for the save. While the [insert here] ex-machina trope is a little eye-rolling, considering that it was used last episode, and is used again when the trawler’s brother comes seeking for revenge later in the episode , the action sequence of the warriors shooting, kicking, and using the Quarren spears against themselves, complete with a thumping EDM track, is satisfying, and the fight choreography is well executed. When the child is safely recovered, Mando is stunned to see that his fellow Mandalorians remove their helmets, as their leader is revealed to be Bo Katan Kryzee (Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff), the titular heiress of the episode.  For fans of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels, this is exciting, as Sackhoff voiced the character in those shows, thus making the transition from CGI cartoon to live action portrayal, and accompanying her as members of the Nite Owls are Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides, Zoo), and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado, aka professional wrestler Sasha Banks). Accusing the three of not being true Mandalorians because of the helmet removal, Bo Katan claims that he “must be a child of the Watch, which are a cult of religious zealots that broke away from Mandalorian society. Their goal is to reestablish the ancient way.”

This revelation adds a fascinating new angle to Mando’s character as it puts all the assumptions about his identity in a different light. Might he just be an innocent, much like his adoptive son, taken and twisted into somethin

g that isn’t actually a true Mandalorian warrior? What else has his clan been hiding from him??Unfortunately, director Bryce Dallas Howard provides no pause for Mando to ponder on these questions of identity. Instead, he shrugs her off with “There is only one way. The way of the Mandalore” and jetpacks into the fog. Its only after the second ex-machina rescue by the Nite Owls that he agrees to accompany them on their dangerous mission: raiding an Imperial cargo freighter to get weapons, in exchange for information about a Jedi (Mando leaves the Child with the Frog Lady). 

The raid itself plays out like a pretty standard Star Wars action sequence: gunfights, explosions, cavernous grey hallways resembling the Death Star, stormtroopers that can’t shoot the side of a barnyard (complete with a Wilhelm scream), and Imperial pilots expositing where the heroes are while looking at tracking screens, while the glowering commander (Bosch’s Titus Welliver) looks on. Nevertheless, updated with an EDM score, it manages to be an exhilarating scene, despite the enemy clearly being outclassed.

Also in classic Star Wars fashion is the altering of the deal: Bo Katan expands her desire of taking the whole ship, because the commander decides on  a suicide crash via orders from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) reciting the chilling chant of “Long live the Empire.” While Mando creates a distraction by charging at the stormtroopers, she manages to capture the commander, demanding to know the location of the Darksaber, a key weapon that she believes will bring her people salvation. But the specter of Moff Gideon is too much, and he crunches down on a cyanide pill. The mission complete, Bo Katan instructs Mando to take the child to renegade Jedi Knight Ahsoka on the planet Corvus. Mando retrieves the Child, and the final shot of the episode is the Razorcrest heading out into space.

Overall, this episode is quite mythology heavy, with a lot of references to the animated shows that would be much more rewarding for those viewers, and its a bit disappointing that there isn’t at least a surface level introspection about Mando’s upbringing. Despite this however, Bo Katan, like Cobb Vanth before her, comes across as a likeable, strong, and compelling character, and I wouldn’t mind seeing her again.

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